It’s tough being an insurance agent today. Merger and acquisition activity is increasing. The demands of their customers evolve quickly. And start-up competitors such as CoverHound and PolicyGenius are waiting to disrupt the entire distribution chain.

As of 2016, the number of independent agents hovered at about 38,000, according to the Independent Insurance Agents Brokers of America (Big I), which says that since 2004, the estimate has fluctuated from between 37,500 and 39,000. Smaller agencies make up 21 percent of the overall population and jumbo agencies close to 2 percent. The Big I summarizes that M&A activity has had an impact on the size and health of the agency network.

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